Saturday, November 23, 2013


What's better than eating Peruvian food, Japanese food or Brazilian food? Eating a celebration of all three in one place. Lincoln Road has been the home to the first Miami location of SUSHISAMBA for a while now, but its sister, SUSHISAMBA Coral Gables, opened recently in the heart of Miracle Mile in the Westin Colonnade Hotel, located at 180 Aragon Avenue.

A die-hard sushi, meat and ceviche fan, I love the culinary concept at SUSHISAMBA because it infuses three of my cultural favorites. I can get my Peruvian aji panca fix, while biting into an original sushi roll, created with traditional ingredients from Sao Paulo. Or if I'm in the mood for Robata, I can indulge in a Wagyu Picanha, Sea Bass Anticucho, or Hamachi Kama authentically prepared, all in one sitting.

Shiso Fine
Mushroom Toban Yaki
The new SUSHISAMBA location has a very modern and trendy look. You can find its signature orange color in everything from the ceiling decorations to the waiters' sneakers. There is a lounge, an indoor and outdoor bar, an alfresco dining option, and in typical SUSHISAMBA style, a very festive and energetic ambiance. As I looked through the menu, I noticed many of my favorites from the Miami Beach location, but I also saw some new dishes I hadn't come across before. I figured I'd sample a combination of both the old and the new and started with the Seared Wagyu Beef and the Mushroom Tobanyaki. Of course, I decided all of this while sipping a Shiso Fine, a tall and refreshing concoction that had "sweet" written all over it. It was a bit herbaceous and a whole lot citrusy, made with Vodka infused with Shiso leaves, creme de peche and housemade Thai basil syrup. Nice.

Seared Wagyu Beef

The Seared Wagyu Beef was spectacular. Thinly sliced and very tender, it was prepared with ponzu gelee, strips of warm honshimeji mushrooms, and truffle tofu crema. There was a celebration of flavors in every bite. The Mushroom Tobanyaki was a mushroom lover's dream come true. Toban yaki means to roast in a ceramic plate and this traditional dish continued to radiate heat while on the table, sealing in the intense flavors of the wild japanese mushrooms in an earthy, savory broth. It was served with garlic chip and a poached organic egg on top.

Samba Coral Gables and Sao Paulo Sushi Rolls

Next up, we just had to try a couple of rolls before moving on to the Robata grill. We decided on the Samba Coral Gables, specific to this location, and the Sao Paulo. I absolutely loved the colorful presentation of both rolls. The Samba Coral Gables was a tribute to latin flavors and asian ingredients consisting of steamed lobster, avocado, red jalapeno, spicy japanese rice cracker, sweet chili, key lime mayo and tobiko. It was beautifully plated, with skewered rolls and an orchid in the center. The Sao Paulo was a delicious combination of scallop, masago, red onion, tuna, salmon, shrimp, yellowtail, avocado, truffle, hacho miso soy and chive oil. Think of it as their own creative rendition of a rainbow roll with a Brazilian twist.

Sea Bass Anticucho
Coconut Rice
The Robata grill offers a variety of small plates, or Peruvian skewers called "anticuchos", that are prepared in their Japanese charcoal grill. You can choose from a selection of meats, fish and seafood, or vegetables. We ordered the Sea Bass Anticucho, which was my hit for the night. The sea bass practically dissolved in my mouth in a light, buttery sensation, accentuated by the taste of miso drizzled on top. The two skewers were served with peruvian corn. As a side dish, we had Coconut Rice, which was creamy with a subtle coconut taste. From the meat section of the robata, we tried the Lamb Chops, drizzled with red miso and key lime. Wow! They were tender and flavorful, literally falling off the bone. Great recommendation by our awesome waiter.

Lamb Chops

Samba Split
Key Lime Tart
It was just about time for dessert and I was looking forward to it like a toddler on Christmas morning. We went for the Samba Split and the deconstructed Key Lime Tart.  The Samba Split was a party on a plate. A huge boat of dulce de leche ice-cream, caramelized baby bananas, coconut flan, coconut mochi, caramel popcorn and fresh berries stared back at me while I lightly drooled all over myself. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa. It was refreshing and delicious. The deconstructed Key Lime Tart provided a Back to the Future kind of moment where crispy, tart key lime was laid out with strawberry gelee and yuzu-basil granite, on a plate full of graham cracker crumbles. Off to the side sat a bubble full of custard that we popped to get to the sweet treat. Yay! Let's do it again!

For more information on SUSHISAMBA Coral Gables, you can call them at 448-4990 or visit their website.

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